Utah’s Powder Mountain gains its first architect-designed community

Utah’s Powder Mountain gains its first architect-designed community

Horizon, designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, is the first of many ‘neighbourhoods’ set to follow in Powder Mountain

Utah’s Powder Mountain, a striking natural spot in the US known for its idyllic ski resort in Eden, is now getting a new community in the shape of the MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects designed Horizon neighbourhood. Commissioned by the entrepreneurs behind the Summit Series, an established platform for invitation-only events created to foster debate amongst businesspeople, academics, creatives, philanthropists and innovators, the scheme, which consists of some 30 privately owned bespoke cabins, has just completed. 

Dotting an idyllic mountain slope and following the site’s natural contours, the project features structures that range in size from 90-230 sq m and come in four typologies. A communal lodge called the ‘Pioneer Cabin’ is available to all residents and provides a heart and focus for the neighbourhood. The aim is for Horizon to feel modern and forward thinking, but remain rooted in a sense of wholesomeness and context. 

Photography: Paul Bundy

While the designs vary and adapt to the topography’s natural rhythm, there’s a strong unity in the overall design, which shines through the use of wood (the fairly spare structures feature a cedar-shingled roof and vertical shiplap cedar walls), large openings and human-centric design that is part of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple’s signature style. ‘This isn’t another ski resort, but rather a planned community for entrepreneurs and creatives working together to address global challenges’, say the architects. 

The positioning and orientation of the cabins were very carefully planned, so as to emphasise views and avoid obstructing vistas between neighbours. At the same time, these decisions also consciously work with the region’s climate to enhance sustainability in the design through passive heating and cooling. 

The project displays MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple’s work on community making at its very best; an approach Brian MacKay-Lyons has been known to perfect through his work on his own Shobac Farm in Nova Scotia. Horizon is the renowned Canadian architecture practice’s very first completed project in the USA; meanwhile more ‘neighbourhoods’ are set to follow in the area, slowly completing the Powder Mountain founders’ vision for this retreat. §

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